Archive for the 'Sustainable Love' Category

The Power of Love Missions

Friday, June 27th, 2014

breakfastinbed“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”  -Albert Schweitzer

 

One of my favorite teachings in the Buddhist tradition is how love is transmitted between a teacher and a student. It is often described as a seed of loving intention that is planted in the heart and mind of the initiate, which, with attention, will grow into a life of the dharma. In truth, this is probably what sparked the idea of creating love missions. I don’t think it is a stretch to consider most of the missions that Love Agents will carry out as teachings in kindness. Bringing a gentle willingness to the ways we think, communicate and show up for our relationships doesn’t take much more time or effort than our usual interactions, yet it is often something easily overlooked.  Deliberate acts of kindness teach both the giver and receiver by helping them to recognize how love feels in the moment. Love Agent missions are designed to create a heightened level of intentional attention to these moments so we can become cognizant of the visceral shift that occurs in the moments we experience love.

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Growing Up in Love

Friday, June 20th, 2014

holdinghands6“In the last minutes of your life, it won’t matter what you have collected, where you have travelled, how much you have in the bank.  The only thing that will matter to you is who you loved and who loved you back…” 

 

If you have ever met me in person, it is likely that by the end of our conversation I may have said these words to you. I live my life by them and am convinced that the purpose of our lives is to learn how to love. And yet, on the face of it, we often are so consumed with the daily activities of earning our living, dealing with difficulty, and self-medicating our unnamed and unexpressed emotional injuries that paying attention to our loving relationships ends up last on the list. This might be in part because loving people is hard work, and often work for which we are unprepared, both in experience and education. Put simply, we often don’t recognize the opportunities for the applied practice that love demands.

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Becoming an Agent of Love

Friday, June 13th, 2014

springfam“Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible – it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.” –Barbara de Angelis

Becoming more intentional in your life, especially when it comes to matters that engage our emotional intelligence and heart opening is the only path to a meaningful evolution and aging process. In human social systems, the idea of agency or becoming an agent has to do with our ability to make choices, as opposed to some predetermined destiny. It embraces the idea that we have the capacity, and some might argue the responsibility to make decisions and enact them on the world.

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Creating a Social Movement of Love Agents

Friday, June 6th, 2014

handhold“Love can, in fact, reinvent the world.” -Wendy Strgar,

Blogging days are over. And as much as I love to ponder and write about what it takes to make love real, it is clear that this weekly monologue of mine about sustainable love must evolve into something that actually impacts the experience of love in the world. Lucky for me that I met a social movement architect who has helped us conceive of the first organic love movement of its kind built on individual acts of love. The truth is that every time any one of us does something deliberately loving for someone else, it creates an energetic transmission that enlarges the emotional capacity of both the giver and the receiver; and while I have been writing for years about good ideas for getting there, it is time to enlist the legion of all of you, who have been reading (thanks for opening all this time) and turn you into certified Love Agents.

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Freedom from Our Fatal Flaw

Friday, May 30th, 2014

manwalkingdog“When you hold a grudge, you want someone else’s sorrow to reflect your level of hurt but the two rarely meet.” -Steve Mariboli

 

There are few things that make me ruminate like the abrupt endings of relationships. In fact, there is little that matters more to me than reconciliation, forgiveness and harmony with the people that I value and love. Still, I have my challenges, and like most of us have dealt with relationship endings, some from distance and changing occupations, others from abrupt and hurtful changes of heart. The latter are the ones that I get stuck on, especially when I am struggling to befriend myself. It is easy to get stuck in these ruts, which fester into self doubt and shame for months or even years, playing scenes over in the mind, looking for a reason. We want to identify where the break happened, the moment we go from being loveable to becoming undesirable; the moment when a heart hardens against us.

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Heart Guardians

Friday, April 18th, 2014

foggy“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”-Buddha

 

Our first response to rejection of any kind is usually shame. It comes out looking like anger and a story of betrayal. It is hard for even the most emotionally balanced among us to not experience our most deeply ingrained fears of unworthiness when someone we have valued walks away and shuts a door on our heart. I have been steeped in these kinds of interactions recently and I have come to believe that these painful exchanges are the opportunity for the deepest transformative shifts in our thinking and why Carl Jung once wrote “The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” Moving beyond our defensive posturing and even the legitimate excuses about relationship failures to attending to the heart of our own worthiness to be loved is the only cure.

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Seeing Through New Eyes

Friday, April 4th, 2014

lesbiancoupleresized“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” - Marcel Proust

It is odd how we take for granted the most basic of our sensory capacities until life teaches us otherwise. Losing our sight is one that is common to most of us as we age. Although both my parents wore corrective lenses, I boasted perfect vision until suddenly, as I approached 50, small print became illegible. It was the first real wake-up call for what was coming and I must admit that I didn’t go willingly towards the declining capacity that before then, seemed like things that only happened to other people. Suddenly I started to pay attention to what I could see well and maybe even more attention to what I could no longer see. My attention alone made colors more vivid, gave the subtle textures of fabrics and plants more depth; and the tones of the gray overcast sky became more subtle.

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My Love Cure

Friday, February 21st, 2014

sunriseresized“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

 

My father died last weekend, peacefully in his sleep. He was sick and unhappy for a very long time, so while his death was anticipated, the reality of it still surprised me. Even as I worked with hospice and caregivers daily over the last few weeks anticipating the moment, when death arrives, it turns things over on its head in ways you can’t anticipate. Finally, at the moment of his departure, all the years of trying to forgive him came clear. During all the efforts to forgive him and his persistent disrespectful and abusive ways, I never once looked at forgiving myself for not being able to love him. Going through his wallet now and finding photos of him on his driver’s license and one he had just gotten to carry a concealed weapon, I was at last able to see him beyond the anger, which was his primary interactive mode to keep people away. I could see into the grief and isolation that his photos showed. I wept for my own inability to love him more.   My 17-year-old son, ever wise, said, “You loved him as much as he let you.”

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Three Valentine’s Day Cures

Friday, February 14th, 2014

coupledoor“The art of love… is largely the art of persistence.”  ~Albert Ellis

 

If we could learn just two things about love that might just cure us of our broken relationships and dissatisfying sex it is this- that love does not come made to order and that we must be willing to ask for what we want. These two misunderstandings about the limits of relationships wreak havoc in the development and maturity of many long-term partnerships. Maybe it is all the romantic comedies or being brought up in a Disney culture of happily ever after, but the sad and happy truth of real and lasting loving relationships is that we don’t have control over how other people love us. Combined with the other persistent and unhelpful belief that other people should know what we feel or want from love without our telling them, and suddenly, the brokenness of our collective love lives comes clear. So here are three fixes for this useless cycle of love breakdowns that will cure your Valentine’s Day blues and carry you into a fertile new cycle of love this spring.

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3 Ways to Become More Human

Friday, January 17th, 2014

bedcouple7resized“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.” -Mary Oliver

 

A good friend of mine recently told me that her resolution for this year was to become more human. She laughed as she shared the story with me, of how some of her friends from Silicon Valley didn’t quite understand the meaning of her pronouncement. “I am serious,” she said. “I want to feel more.” We all need to feel more, to become more human.  As our lives are becoming increasingly dominated by digital gadgets that offer a superficial connectivity at best, we lose the face to face and heart to heart contact that in fact makes us human. Science bears this out, as more and more research is confirming how the combination of voyeurism and narcissism through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are drastically reducing the amount of real relating time we engage in. Worse still, we are losing the primary skills required to do the messy and gratifying work of truly showing up, communicating and committing to the loving relationships that give life its purpose and meaning.

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